Neue Deutsche Härte stalwarts Megaherz return with their latest studio album 'Zombieland'. The quintet have had a tumultuous history of line-up changes, but they've always managed to come back stronger and more focussed after every reshuffle. Nevertheless, nearly 20 years since their 'Herzwerk' demo and the band are still delivering what the fans want.
Vocalist Lex Wohnhaas now on his third outing for the band has well and truly ingrained himself as the voice of the band and pushes out of his comfort zone throughout this release and provides the majority of the highlights.
The band sound as tight and bombastic as ever, blending the panache of dark rock with the slickness of electro-pop and the ever present bite of ndh. They may still get the inevitable comparisons to their compatriots Rammstein, but 'Zombieland' sees the boys from Munich in a much more cinematic frame of mind.
Tracks such as 'Zombieland', 'Himmelsstürmer', 'Unter Strom', 'Lieblingsfeind' and 'Frei' deliver the heavier side of the album, with big riffs, throbbing bass and catchy electronics framing Wohnhaas' expressive vocals. While the likes of 'Schwarzer Engel', 'Für Immer', and 'Gegen De Wind' deliver a much more pop-orientated slant that recalls Unheilig and even Blutengel which not only adds a very dance-friendly slant to the album, but also a very commercial one.
The production is excellent. The songs are punchy with the bass coming through hard to support the varied vocal performance. But after two decades in the business, you'd expect nothing less than a band of Megaherz's calibre.
This is a very good release. The band have varied their sound and the performances are as big and passionate as they have ever been. Indeed on paper Megaherz are at the top of their game. However there is still something missing that just keeps this from being a great album rather than a very good one. There is a lot of variety to the band's sound and the conceptual nature of the album conveys a linear narrative, but it still feels rather comfortable and familiar. The band have the talent and experience to give us something that could really renew the ndh genre. Instead they've opted for a more accessible option, which is fine... but it isn’t really as satisfying as it could be.